Reviewed on Friday 5th September 2014
Kicking off the Union Theatre's Howard Goodall season, The Dreaming is a weird and wonderful musical based on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Paul Clarkson's production - which marks The Dreaming's professional London premiere - certainly doesn't hold back.
I sat down at the Union knowing absolutely nothing about the style of the piece or how it would be brought together and I think that's how everybody should experience this show so I won't give too much away. The weird and wonderful staging is utterly transfixing whilst Goodall's score is simply enchanting.
Once again the Union has been transformed; the new layout makes the space appear seemingly larger, allowing the large cast to bounce around the theatre. Helen Rymer's bold and wacky choreography works a treat, never feeling too small or too squashed. The Dreaming is performed with punch, the young cast are fearless and give their all, totally embracing its quirkiness. Kingsley Hall's design is simple yet striking; I was drawn into another world.
It's refreshing to see a 'strange' piece of theatre being performed with such beauty. Sometimes when a creative team try and create something controversial or different their show can lose its focus; however, whilst The Dreaming certainly dares to be different, its style only enhances and brings something new to a story we have all seen performed time and time again.
For those with an open mind and willing to see something a little different, The Dreaming is at the top of my current recommendations list. The bar has been set incredibly high for the rest of the Union's Howard Goodall season.